Daylilies forum→Spring Sickness

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Name: Sue Petruske
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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petruske
May 15, 2019 10:05 PM CST
It's that time of the year again here in my Wisconsin garden.

Spring Sickness has reared its ugly head, and it seems more viciously than any other year I've had. Grumbling

I sure wish they could come up with what is causing it. They say it's NOT the weather...and I do agree with that...BUT...it always starts to show up after about 2 or 3 good frosty nights. Does the frost trigger some bug or eggs to hatch???

I watch for it every year. The fans always look so good at the beginning and lead me to believe that I'll be getting away with little SS. I REALLY thought this year was going to be different because they all looked so good not showing any signs at all. Then after the 3rd frost it gradually started to show up. It is the worst year yet for SS in my gardens. How bad is it...well...I went out today and counted. AND I KNEW it would be easier to count the ones that did NOT have SS signs.

I ended up with 68 daylilies that DID NOT have it out of about 254 cultivars. Some clumps have just a couple fans affected while a few have almost half of the fans affected.

That's not even counting the seedling bed that was planted last year (which was a first year bed) and is showing a good amount of SS. Or the seedling bed planted in 2016 which seems to have faired the best but still has some SS.

There is just no rhyme or reason with SS. I've been watching it here for many years and never find any "trail" to follow that may lead me to think of a plan of action. Just wait for them to grow out of it. They generally grow out of it, but it is so UGLY right now. The only thing I noticed (this year) was that areas which didn't get a lot of sun had less SS. (Note: Those areas were more protected from the frost.) But I'm sure that won't follow through next year. D'Oh!

If anyone knows of any good web sites or articles to read that may have updated info on SS, please post it here.

Also would like to hear from others if they have it this year and how bad. I'm in zone 5a.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
May 16, 2019 4:56 AM CST
Spring sickness happens even when there is no frost after the leaves start to grow. The damage starts while the shoots are still underground but it's not clear exactly when it starts, it may even be the year before.

The only website solely about spring sickness is this one which hasn't been updated in a while but shows some background, starting with this page that suggests reasons for some suspects:

http://web.ncf.ca/ah748/2002.h...

If you're an AHS member there was an update article on spring sickness in the Daylily Journal last year, I think it was in the Spring 2018 issue.
Name: Alan
Merseyside
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pikaia
May 16, 2019 5:49 AM CST
It seems to be caused by a species of Botrytis:-

https://www.hostahem.org.uk/Sp...
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
May 16, 2019 6:51 AM CST
pikaia said:It seems to be caused by a species of Botrytis:-

https://www.hostahem.org.uk/Sp...


If you read the study, it shows that they were not actually able to cause spring sickness experimentally with the Botrytis fungus. See also this page, which also has some other references at the bottom:

http://web.ncf.ca/ah748/2002.h...
Name: Sue Petruske
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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petruske
May 16, 2019 8:04 AM CST
Do we know if any treatments have been tried? And do they indicate even a LITTLE improvement?

I often wonder if the practice of removing the spent scapes (in the fall) can add to the problem. Especially when tugged on a little too much to pull them out vs. waiting until they pull out with ease. Wonder if it creates an opening or a fresh tear that allows something to get into the tissue that causes the spring damage.

I know we won't get answers (because there are none). Anyone out there that is tracking Spring Sickness in their gardens?

Thanks to all replies. I tip my hat to you.
Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
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bxncbx
May 16, 2019 8:05 AM CST
@petruske how has your weather been rain-wise? I had some cultivars with SS this year (although nowhere near as many as you). You are right in that at first they all look fine. But when all my dormants (including very lates) have emerged and I start counting fans (typically April) I tend to start seeing it.

The difference this year is that we have had a TON of rain which has caused everything to grow at an insanely rapid pace. When I checked this morning many of the cultivars with SS had already grown out of it. I wouldn't be surprised if they even bloomed this year (typically they don't bloom the year they have SS). The few that hadn't recovered completely still look as though they will recover soon although I do think they won't bloom this year. It seems rapid growth in the Spring is key to having the plants bounce back. I did also fertilize in April so that may have helped also.

We had an incredibly rainy year last year including the winter. Very few long, cold snaps and lots of rain instead of snow. No late hard freezes (or even anything close to a freeze) but I still got SS. We haven't had hardly any sun which I would have thought might make the situation worse but apparently not. Fungal diseases should thrive in this weather but so far all my plants look great.

Why SS occurs is a complete mystery to me. It seems completely random. It can't be weather because each year I have a few plants with SS and the weather patterns are completely different each year (last year the rains started in early summer so the Spring was normal and we did get late freezes). I haven't seen any pests yet, not even an aphid. If it is some kind of pathogen I don't understand how it can bother some fans in a clump and not others. Confused
Name: Sue Petruske
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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petruske
May 16, 2019 8:25 AM CST
Elena,
We have had, what I would call, a comfortable amount of rain. Not worried that it was too much yet enough that I did not have to worry about the gardens drying out.
Every April I spread Milorganite. I applied in early May also. I do this mainly to keep the deer and rabbits away.
Our winter was better than last year. We had better snow coverage to protect the plants.
I hear what you say: ("I don't understand how it can bother some fans in a clump and not others.) I have some pretty large clumps and there may be just one fan with SS.
The only difference is we put down a different mulch last year. Maybe something in there made the DL's more susceptible. It has a different type of mushroom than I've seen here before. An ugly flesh colored, kinda ripple looking, ugly thing. Reminded me of a deformed pig's ear. Yuck.
I definitely do agree that no one knows exactly what causes SS. It's that "inquiring minds want to know" attitude of mine that drives me crazy every spring. Thinking
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
May 16, 2019 8:30 AM CST
"Do we know if any treatments have been tried? And do they indicate even a LITTLE improvement?"

There was a study published in the AHS Daylily Journal several years ago (Summer 2010) that seemed to show some ss reduction with an insecticide and also with a fungicide (separately as far as I recall). But it did not prevent spring sickness completely.

Removing scapes does not seem to be a factor. What does seem to be a factor is that affected fans were not new ones in the current season. So you may see an apparent association with fans that had produced scapes the year before.

A lot of questions are answered on the spring sickness task force FAQ page:

http://web.ncf.ca/ah748/qanda....

as well as on the experiments page link I posted above, here it is again: http://web.ncf.ca/ah748/2002.h...
[Last edited by sooby - May 16, 2019 8:39 AM (+)]
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Name: Diana
Lincoln, NE (Zone 5b)
Daylilies Region: Nebraska Organic Gardener Dog Lover Bookworm
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ShakespearesGarden
May 18, 2019 8:02 PM CST
We had a decent amount of precipitation this winter, and the plants did have some snow (and mulch) cover. We've had a pretty wet spring, and cool as well. And like many of you noted, everything looked awesome for a while. I do have about a dozen plants with SS. On Karen Sue, most of the fans have it and it's about a sprawling 8 fan clump The affected fans are all in the middle. Another DL is a three fan clump and 2 fans have it. It's pretty randomly scattered through 4 beds, two of which are near the house, and two of which are out in the field.

They really look like they've just grown too quickly and one side couldn't keep up with the other.
Bravery is not being unafraid. Bravery is being afraid and living life anyways.
Name: Sue Petruske
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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petruske
May 18, 2019 8:53 PM CST
We had rain the last couple days and more expected tomorrow. I hope to get out there soon and see if there is improvement of any kind. Crossing Fingers!
Name: Roger & Karen
Birmingham, Al (Zone 7a)
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Diggerofdirt
May 19, 2019 11:24 AM CST
Sighing! so sorry never heard of that
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Name: Heidi
CT (Zone 5b)
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mom2cjemma
May 20, 2019 5:06 AM CST
Yep, seeing spring sickness here too.
Heidi
Name: Sue Petruske
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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petruske
Jun 21, 2019 11:06 PM CST
Here are some pictures of one of my DL's that showed spring sickness early on. Along with a couple pics that show the amount of improvement over time. NOT that all will react this way but it's the first time I've recorded it with pics.

Hale Bremer: April 28, 2019
Thumb of 2019-06-22/petruske/e59842

Hale Bremer: June 21, 2019
Thumb of 2019-06-22/petruske/6d410a
Thumb of 2019-06-22/petruske/ab255b
Can't believe all the scapes when most of the fans were so deformed. Even the worst fan has a scape.
Name: Mary
Crown Point, Indiana (Zone 5b)
josieskid
Jun 22, 2019 5:38 AM CST
Sue, so glad you will have lots of blooms this year! Many of my daylilies had spring sickness. It made ME sick! But, everyone is recovered, growing huge, and with scapes everywhere!

Whew! Thumbs up
I are sooooo smart!
Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Spiders! Plant and/or Seed Trader Winter Sowing Hybridizer Peonies
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bxncbx
Jun 22, 2019 7:38 AM CST
Same for me! Typically when fans have SS they look bad all season & definitely don't produce scapes. But not this year! Pretty much all the fans recovered & have scapes. Hurray!

I'm not going to assume this will happen every year though.
Name: Susie
Western NY (Zone 4a)
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lovegrillin
Jun 22, 2019 8:07 AM CST
I've seen an increase in spring sickness here as well. We had a normal winter, lots of snowfall which kept the daylilies under snow for months. Lots of rain this spring. I'm at a loss for why some are saying they won't bloom when effected. Everyone of mine that have ever had it has bloomed the same year. 'North Wind Drifter' last year got hit hard and it bloomed like crazy. All the ones I've noticed that had it this year have now grown out of it and look great. I'll try and remember to double check about flowering. I really don't pay too much attention to spring sickness as in the end (in my observations) that it does not seem to effect the plant permantly in anyway. Although, it would be great to know why it happens. If it was some kind of bug or fungus, I would not treat them anyway, as I don't want to hurt my bees, butterflies and humming birds, but to each his own.
Name: Diana
Lincoln, NE (Zone 5b)
Daylilies Region: Nebraska Organic Gardener Dog Lover Bookworm
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ShakespearesGarden
Jun 22, 2019 8:11 AM CST
Mine too. Karen Sue looked like it was practicing to be a contortionist, but she's grown out of it and has plenty of scapes!

Susie, I'm with you. I try to garden organically. I draw the line at poison ivy though. That gets hit with heavy duty weed killer. My kids have been bit by it and my grandson does not need that kind of learning lesson.
Bravery is not being unafraid. Bravery is being afraid and living life anyways.
Name: Susie
Western NY (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Dog Lover Hummingbirder
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lovegrillin
Jun 22, 2019 10:15 PM CST
Diana I would not know poison ivy, don't think I ever saw it. Sumac, I know what it looks like. I'm not putting anyone down for doing what they want. I just don't want to use the poisons. But I prolly would with some things like "Giant Hogweed". Oh, and son who is in his mid 30's has managed to find his way into poison ivy 3 times. He got into some uncomfortable places... Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Love him, but he was the same kid that took hot food out of the oven and right into his mouth...did not understand why the food was hot.... Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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touchofsky
Jun 23, 2019 6:24 AM CST
I don't use pesticides or herbicides, either, but I would use it on poison ivy if it were on my property. I got poison ivy on my face when I was a teenager. What a nightmare.
Touch_of_sky on the LA
Name: Diana
Lincoln, NE (Zone 5b)
Daylilies Region: Nebraska Organic Gardener Dog Lover Bookworm
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ShakespearesGarden
Jun 23, 2019 7:29 AM CST
"Leaves of three, let it be!" Another identifier is red stems. My son itched and hurt for weeks. He had the blister's scars for nearly a year. The poison ivy is not near the gardens so no chemicals near the good plants...
Bravery is not being unafraid. Bravery is being afraid and living life anyways.

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